Wagner To Play in Germany in 2011-12

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steve Wagner will not be returning to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins next season. He won't even be playing hockey in North America in 2011-12. The news became official early this morning when the DEL's Adler Manheim Eagles team website released the story that Wagner has indeed signed to play in Germany next season.

I wish Wagner all the best with his new team. After the jump, a look at what Wagner's departure means for the organization's depth on the blue line as well as the free agents that could be retained.

Defensemen signed through 2011-12
NHL(7): Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Zybnek Michalek, Paul Martin, Matt Niskanen, Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland
AHL (6): Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Simon Despres*, Carl Sneep, Alex Grant, Philip Samuelsson
* Despres could make the NHL roster

Free Agents on July 1st
NHL UFA: Andrew Hutchinson & Corey Potter
AHL UFA: Jason DeSantis & Joey Mormina

Thoughts on Defense

The organization really put together a solid defensive core in the NHL last off season in free agency, adding both Martin and Michalek. In terms of AHL depth, the Penguins went out and got Corey Potter and Andrew Hutchinson, two veteran defensemen with some NHL experience in their careers.

This season the focus will definitely be on the forwards with Zach Sill, Nick Johnson and recently Craig Adams all re-signed for next season. That being said, the Pens still need to add a veteran defenseman in the AHL for depth purposes and the only in-house option that would be a solid 2-way defender is Corey Potter.  I don't see the other three free agents being retained.


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